Feb 1, 2018

How Stanford’s Letterwinner List Became 14,998 Enchanted Objects

The letterwinner list rarely is the most exciting part of a college athletic program’s story. An alphabetical list of names and years in tiny type buried in the back of a media guide is more a formality than an acknowledgement of an athlete.

In the Home of Champions, Stanford turned the roster of 14,998 letterwinners across 36 sports and 126 years into an experience unto itself.

Every Stanford letterwinner is listed in print in a series of books, but the books come alive when placed on an interactive tabletop. In her tour of the Home of Champions, Forbes’ Kristi Dosh took special note of the interactive letterwinner display:

With thousands of athletes having competed for The Cardinal since 1891, Advent was challenged to find a way to incorporate as many of the scholar-athletes in Stanford history as possible. A unique solution was crafted: 10 custom books, organized by decade, that list the names of nearly 15,000 former scholar-athletes.

Place any book on the table and it comes to life, offering bios, photographs and even social media information on the scholar-athletes within that time frame.

The interactive tabletop solution has provided Stanford with a multitude of opportunities, including a chance to more fully display their voluminous history. Stanford staff noted that visitors have asked to add information about family and loved ones to the list. The content management system easily allows Stanford to add, update and correct any data in its records.

The final result takes what could be a simply list of names into an experience out of Harry Potter.

“What it allows you to do is to enchant that physical object,” said John Downie, Advent’s vice president of digital experiences. “You can pick up the book, you can read the names within it but if you place the book on the table you can start to engage on a much greater level. That presents in itself an enchanting experience. You have this book that comes to life and in itself is made magical.”

Just as important as the presentation, Stanford is able to show current, former and future student-athletes that all of them have a place in the Home of Champions.

“I love the books,” said athletic director Bernard Muir in Stanford’s video about the Home of Champions. “I love that element where you can open the book and if you’ve worn the uniform at some point in time, you can find your name here.”